Alappuzha: One of Kerala's most exquisite tourism products, the traditional rice boat now turned into houseboats, will now double up as isolation centres, if the need arises, said an industry stake-holder.
Tomy Pulikattil, who owns a fleet of houseboats that ply in the Vembanad lake, told IANS that their industry has had a very bad season and now they felt that it could be for a good cause and to help the government which is trying to set up isolation centres.
"About 350 houseboats, which have more than three rooms., are ready. The biggest one has 10 indivudal rooms. We have decided not to charge any rent for it, but the state government will have to meet the expenses for fuel, water, electricity and the boat staff and this has been agreed," he said.
"We wish the state government comes to our aid. All of us are struggling and we want a six months moratorium on our loans as the present one which is three months is not good enough, as we will have to pay interest and penal interest for three months loan instalments, when it's eventually paid. This won't help us, what we seek is total interest waiver for six months," added Pulikattil.